This morning, as the rain began to drizzle as it usually does this time of year in England, I went for a run to clear my thoughts and to knock off some km’s from my annual goal of 1664km.
As I was running through the grounds of the local college, I admired the surrounding woodland and lush green playing fields. Whilst looking left, I caught a glimpse of a dark blur in my peripheral vision. Immediately, I picked up my pace; increasing my stride ever so slightly and concentrating my breathing again just to ensure the person that I thought was behind me wouldn’t pass me.
Seeing the dark blur had made me snap out of the comfortable pace that I was in taking in the beautiful surroundings and made me get back onto my goal of getting the run done within a decent time.
Immediately as this happened, a thought came to me. I considered the similarities between sport and business. The thought of someone running behind me gave me two things to contemplate which I think are similarly valuable in both sport and business.
First of all, the perception of competition gave me an external stimuli to reassess my current situation in relation to my goal. I had been coasting, taking in the sights, and not pushing forward as fast as I could in order to achieve my goal. This can relate directly to the running of a business, complacency can set in to any organisation, and it often takes the threat of a losing to reinvigorate enthusiasm, innovation and drive.
The second point, which I consider far more important in this story, is that after 50m of increased speed, I realised that I am not in a race. Regardless of whoever is behind, beside or in front of me, I have to concentrate on running my own race as I don’t know what race the others around me are running. Perhaps they are on a 5km sprint whilst I am on a 10km route.
Again, this can translate into the business world. Every organisation is different, even if they provide a similar service or product. Each are on their own path, playing their own game or running their own race.
Taking the two points as one lesson; it is important to be aware of your surroundings, but it is also important to remember your own strategy and not dwell on what others are doing. Keep looking over your shoulder to see how far you have come, and to see who is around you, but don’t worry about them. You will never truly know what their plan is so why bother worrying too much. Employ your best strategy and focus on beating yourself.
Oh, and the dark blur that I thought was catching up with me? It was nothing real, a figment of my imagination.